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Holy Family School, Cootehill, Co. Cavan

School History

The Holy Family School has its origins in Carrickmacross, in 1966. A Committee of concerned people in Carrickmacross saw the lack of schooling for children with learning disabilities and set about providing education for these children.

The Parents and Friends group set up a part time voluntary school and raised funds to pay the teacher and for transport and meals.

In 1968 the Department of Education recognised the school as a temporary school and a qualified teacher was appointed and free transport was provided.

The Committee applied to the Department Of Education to have the school made permanent.   At that stage they had to show that there was a need for such a school as there was no automatic entitlement to education for children with special needs.

To the disappointment of the Carrickmacross Parents and Friends, the Department of Education insisted that Cootehill would be a more suitable location for the school. The original committee generously continued to back the project.  Cootehill was considered a more central venue to cover an area within a 20-mile radius – covering the two Counties – Cavan and Monaghan. 

Thus the Holy Family School was established in 1973 and was named after the Holy Family Hall in Carrickmacross in which the original school was based.

Initially there were three classrooms, an all purpose hall, a Special Care unit and kitchen.

The Board of Management took responsibility for the Special Care unit which was funded by the North Eastern Health Board. It was staffed by a nurse who looked after the needs of children with severe/profound disabilities. 

There were three teachers in the school catering for the needs of pupils with moderate learning disabilities. There were 23 pupils in the school at that time.

Over the last thirty years the school has undergone many changes including two extensions.  It presently caters for over 150 pupils and has support staff including teachers, nurses, speech and language therapist, special needs assistants, housekeepers, secretary, caretaker and bus escorts.